Social Network Supermarkets

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In 2009 Open Source Advocate Chris Messina gave a talk called Social Network Supermarkets and How to Defeat Them[1] at Portland's Open Source Bridge Conference. In the talk, he discussed ways in which one received identity in the past, (from others) not from 3rd party social and identity providers. He explained that over time humans have allowed more and more of Maslow's Hierarchy to be provided by third parties.

Chris Messina gave a speech at Open Source Bridge in Portland 2009 where he talked about subscribing to each element of Maslow's hierarchy. Today, we rent a house that we will never own a home even if we mortgage it, and subscribe to a food service buy going ever 1-2 weeks to a local grocery store. If we are lucky we live in a place owned by our family and near a marketplace. Now we don't even have identity because we subscribe to a employed self. This could go on and on.

"Our inventions have already succeeded in satisfying our most basic needs and by adding more comfort technology, upon more, doesn’t necessarily mean that our happiness multiplies, just like Epicurus concluded. It might even be that we are making our lives poorer and ourselves unhappier in the process as we get less experiences out of life".[2]

“For most people on earth, their goals in life are quite simple: to survive, to raise kids who’ll also survive and if possible do it all with a contentment and pride [..] But as soon as these fundamental questions of survival are no longer an issue, it’s not enough that people have food and some place to live to feel content and happy. New needs arise, new desires appear..Despite the evidence that most people are trapped in this spiral of increasing expectations, there’s some who have managed to get out."[3]

"Despite the evidence that most people are trapped in this spiral of increasing expectations," he goes on to write "there’s some who have managed to get out. Those are the ones who independent of their material predisposition have managed to increase their quality of life and satisfaction. Those individuals live very vivid lives, are open to different kinds of experiences, continue to learn new things until the day they die and have strong bonds to that unite them with other people and their surroundings. They appreciate everything they do even if it’s bothersome or difficult; they are seldom bored and take life as it comes. Maybe their biggest strength is that they have control over their lives“.[4]

"I believe in many cases that people who’ll acquire technological artifacts to get their lives more comfortable will be more disoriented when it comes to self-actualization than the people who won’t, and for those people we have to be extra clear in our design rhetoric. We all know examples of miserable people who’ll mindlessly shop to wallow themselves with all kinds of modern gadgetry, not because they need to, because they’re dissatisfied with their life. Therefore as we use the full force of our design rhetoric to convince people that our product will help them, we should make sure that our artifacts unambiguously illustrate the extent of its use."[5] “You get a 30 day money back guarantee if this product fails to improve you quality of life within this time period”.[6] "Interaction design is about creating or modifying behaviors. Designers and technology developers persuade users with design rhetoric to change their current behavior into what they find a better one, hopefully also what the user find a better one. But is there enough emphasis put on assuring that new behaviors being superior to old ones in interaction design today? I say that there’s not. What I find lacking is a deeper and more profound design process where sociological, psychological aspects are taken into account; to if not guarantee but increase the possible positive affects in users lives, to guarantee that what we develop is truly functional for the users."[7] "Functionality is generally considered to be a trait that is good, positive, and good for humanity. The interesting thing is that we can turn guns, systems for missile launching, shots for narcotics, waste station systems, dustbins, a shopping mall parking; user friendly. It doesn’t intrinsically mean that we are making the world a better place. Sometimes I get the feeling that designers are more focused on the functionality of what they are designing than on why they are designing."[8] "The interesting thing about industries and commercial areas is that people seldom see the problem of the dysfunctional system; they see the problem of one of the size of the roads. Just like they see their body as the problem when they get a headache, not the system (lifestyle) or surroundings that they live in. If they saw the system as a problem, they would relax, change stressful situations in their life and so on, but instead a majority pops an aspirin and continues their lifestyle. If they wouldn’t, there would of course be no market what so ever for aspirins".[9]

References

  1. Messina, Chris. Social network supermarkets and how to defeat them. OSBridge: the conference for open source citizens. June 18, 2009: 11:20am – 12:05pm. Portland, Oregon. http://opensourcebridge.org/sessions/78
  2. Flow, Interaction Design and Contemporary Boredom by Nicolas Makelberge, 45.
  3. (Csíkszentmihályi 1996, p. 28) in Flow, Interaction Design and Contemporary Boredom by Nicolas Makelberge, 45-46.
  4. (Csíkszentmihályi 1996, p. 28) in Flow, Interaction Design and Contemporary Boredom by Nicolas Makelberge, 46.
  5. Flow, Interaction Design and Contemporary Boredom by Nicolas Makelberge, 46.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Flow, Interaction Design and Contemporary Boredom by Nicolas Makelberge, 46.
  8. Flow, Interaction Design and Contemporary Boredom by Nicolas Makelberge, 47.
  9. Flow, Interaction Design and Contemporary Boredom by Nicolas Makelberge, 48.